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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last Chance Rescue by Tracey Cramer-Kelly

Last Chance Rescue by Tracey Cramer-Kelly
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (254 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

When Brad Sievers runs into his old friend Jessie Van Dyke at his high school reunion, little does he know how much it will change his life. When his high-powered advertising career fizzles, he falls into a most unlikely career opportunity -- becoming a member of Jessie's search-and-rescue team. Nothing in his life has prepared Brad for this, but he finds it more fulfilling than a dozen advertising campaigns.

Through dangerous rescues and personal trials, Brad and Jessie become close friends. They share in the birth of her first colt from her rescued horse; Jessie helps Brad when one of his first rescues doesn't make it. When one of their rescue victims turns out to be a fellow soldier from Jessie's Iraq War days, Brad almost loses her to old demons. But when Brad is severely injured in a training accident, Jessie nurses him back to health as only she can. And when she goes missing one night, Brad realizes just how important she has become to him.

Both Brad and Jessie must fight their own defenses to finally let down the walls that will allow them to rescue each other. This is a story about breath-taking action and adventurous lives, and the heart that is behind it all.

“You rescued me, and I don’t mean just from the mountain.” The how, where, when, and why of this quotation is the essence of this beautiful love story that is full of action, emotion, introspection, and sharing of life.

The learning to love oneself in order to truly love another who will give love in return is another compelling part of this novel. In addition, the acceptance of others and their limitations comes into play as the main characters come to terms with issues that cause deep-seated anger, guilt, and feelings of self-doubt.

The main characters, Brad and Jessie, share an enviable ability to communicate with each other about their inmost emotions as they come to realize the other’s unconditional acceptance. Their story is full of faith, friends, and family along with fear, fun, and their own special friendship—a type of friendship so often missing in male/female relationships.

Brad Sievers, a laid-off advertising agent, has used money, prestige, and being associated with the “right” people as a gauge for success for ten years, but he has never realized a sense of fulfillment. When Jessie Van Dyke, a schoolmate from kindergarten through high school, says she never thought of him being that shallow, he takes a hard look at his life. She says she always saw him as a sensitive, caring person that was a little unsure of himself and attractively shy.

The reader gets a front row seat to his changes in life style, a style full of action, true friends, and a commitment to help others while coming to terms with longtime issues with his father. More importantly, the reader gets to watch a truly special friendship and love develop as the hero and heroine survive both physical and emotional upheavals.

Jessie Van Dyke’s life the past ten years has left her with lots of emotional scars and unresolved issues. She also carries a load of guilt that is not hers to claim. Her feeling of responsible for taking care of others makes her an excellent medic, while in Iraq and while working Search and Rescue. However, it leaves emotional wounds when she cannot always succeed in saving a life. She is a complex character that the reader gets to see grow in wisdom and understanding as she deals with her own demons and while becoming an important part of Brad’s life.

Tracey Cramer-Kelly gives the reader some intense, realistic Search and Rescue scenes while she creates memorable characters that deal with life and death issues along with so many other emotion stressors in modern day society. Her secondary characters add new dimensions to the story as they interact with Brad and Jessie.

The psychology and philosophy imparted through the development of the characters’ self-awareness and self-acceptance make LAST CHANCE RESCUE a story that gives serious food for thought. However, most of all, the remarkable relationship she creates for Brad and Jessie makes this a provocative story—a story I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Just a note: The layout of this book adds to the pleasure of reading it.